Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Because someone can get a patent for 'slide to the right' to unlock. My Android phone used to be 'slide down' to unlock to get around this patent. I guess too many people slide their phones in their pockets and 'butt dialed' too many people so now it is 'slide up' to unlock, meaning my phone is now in my hand. All of this is completely arbitrary, non-intuitive, and in no way inventive or unique! But to be safe, I have filed a patent for a motion sensitive method of unlocking a phone which involves a one finger salute. I am going to be rich! It is only a matter of time before you can just wave at your phone, or point at it, or whatever, to unlock it, so I am just getting ahead of the curve.
My real point? The 'X' to close a window on Microsoft machines is on the top right, and on the top left for Apple machines. WTF? Did studies show too many users closed their windows when they were trying to get the Edit or File menu? A user interface should be designed for consistency so users don't have to think about how to accomplish a task. Is it a button? An action menu item? A tool bar button? What does that icon mean anyway? All I am saying is spend a few minutes thinking about your buttons and actions. Does 'Close' do a save and close? How do I get out of this document? Why is it different than all the rest?
This is one of those issues dating back to the early days of Notes. Hitting ESC closes a window. So does clicking the 'X' on the top. So do I need to include an action to close a document? Well, if you do it for one form, you have to do it for every form. Consistency is all it is cracked up to be.
Make it easy for your users to accomplish the task your application is supposed to help them achieve, and everyone will be much happier! It is not Notes that sucks, it is your UI!